The Welsh government has announced an additional £15 million of funding to improve local authority recycling collection systems and infrastructure, including for plastics
And, the Welsh environment minister said that she will consider amendments to the producer responsibility regulations so that producers pay a “larger share” of waste management costs. However, full developments on producer responsibility are unlikely to be finalised until after the UK government has further developed its plans for producer responsibility which are due later this year.
Hannah Blythyn is to officially detail the funding later today, which forms part of plans to make Wales – according to the Welsh government – the first “refill nation”.
To become the UK’s first ‘Refill Nation’, work will get underway to improve access to drinking water in public places across Wales to help reduce single-use plastic.
Speaking at the Senedd, the minister will announce the key findings of the research on Extended Producer Responsibility which focused on reducing and recycling waste as well as reducing litter from six types of food and drink packaging.
Next week Ms Blythyn is to meet with her counterparts from the UK and Scottish governments on the possibility of a UK based deposit return scheme for drinks containers.
Also, the minister said the government will “consider amendments to the Producer Responsibility Obligations Packaging Waste Regulations so that producers and retailers pay a larger share of waste management costs”, as well as looking into a single-use plastics tax.
The Welsh Government say it will be working with Welsh businesses, public sector, charities and major events to help make Wales free of unnecessary single use plastic.
Ms Blythyn also said in a statement that the government will also be considering a tax, levy or charge on single-use beverage cups in the country.
“I am currently considering Wales’ involvement in a UK-wide deposit return scheme. Developing approaches on a UK wide basis can be less complicated for consumers and better for businesses who have told us they prefer this approach, particularly as we prepare for Brexit,” she explained.
She added: “We continue to work with HM Treasury on a UK single-use plastics tax. At the same time we will continue to consider a tax, levy or charge on single-use beverage cups for Wales. The mandatory use of reusable cups and a potential pilot is also something I am considering.”
The announcements comes two months after Defra ministers said it is better to offer voluntary discounts for customers who bring in re-usable coffee cups, instead of a so called “latte-levy”, at least for the time being.
Ministers at the time praised coffee retail chains for “taking action” to reduce single-use coffee cups, including offering discounts to customers using reusable cups